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As more couples now marry later or marry multiple times, pre-marital agreements are gaining in popularity. A pre-marital agreement is a formal agreement entered into by a couple before they get married specifying what they want to happen to their assets during the marriage and in the event of a separation.
The couples can identify the assets that they currently have and specify what they want to happen to those particular assets. They may specify that they want all assets owned at the date of the marriage to be ring fenced in the event of a subsequent marital breakdown. They may also specify what they want to happen to any subsequently acquired property including any joint assets and what should happen in the event that one of the parties receives an inheritance. The agreement can also deal with non-financial issues such as how children are to be raised for example, although this will amount to no more than an expression of wishes.
It should be noted that these agreements are not binding in England and Wales although there is growing judicial support for them to be so. They are however a factor that the Court can take into account in any subsequent divorce proceedings when deciding on a division of assets. For the agreement to be recognised by the Court it is essential that the correct formalities are followed.
The agreement must be entered into voluntarily and well in advance of the wedding day so that the correct procedures can be followed. Each party needs to be represented by a separate solicitor and must have an opportunity to seek legal advice before entering into the agreement. Each must provide the other with full financial details so that an informed decision can be made about the terms of the agreement. The parties should also regularly review the terms of the agreement to make sure that it remains relevant to their current circumstances.
It is therefore essential that you seek advice from an experienced family law solicitor to discuss your options at the earliest opportunity. At PJH Solicitors we have the necessary expertise and have successfully advised a number of clients in this area.